Classical Yoga is much more than a great exercise system, it has extraordinary healing potential for both body and mind, it addresses the structural imbalances in the body, like bone and joint problems, as well as organic dysfunctions, including hormonal and immune system disorders, particularly through meditation methods, Yoga treats nervous system disorders, emotional tension and psychological difficulties from stress to psychosis.
For its healing purpose, classical Yoga is closely aligned with traditional Ayurveda the science of life, which can also be called Yogic medicine. Ayurveda uses diet, herbs, bodywork, pranayama, and meditation as part of a holistic system of healing that parallels the practices of Yoga relative to the body, mind and spirit. They both reflect a dharmic approach to life, a seeking to keep all beings in harmony with the benefic laws of the universe.
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Classical Yoga consists of eight branches (Ashtanga)
Eight limbs of classical Yoga
1. YAMA social ethics
Ahimsa non-harming, non-violence, non-killing
Asteya non-stealing, non-craving, non-possessiveness
2. NIYAMA personal practices
Saucha cleanliness and purity
Svadhyaya self-study and study of scriptures
Ishvara Pranidhana surrender to the Divine Will
3. ASANA physical postures
Right posture in harmony with our inner consciousness. A balance between tension and relaxation. Ayurveda prescribes Asanas together with proper life-style practices to reduce/balance the Doshas and Gunas. The healing power of Asana best comes out if we perform them in such a way that our mind comes to rest and our Prana is released of physical stress. Very useful for promoting health and vitality and treating many diseases.
4. PRANAYAMA breath & life force control
Prana, life energy, is a natural healing force that carries all the life-giving involuntary functions of the body. Prana mimics the mind and emotions.
5. PRATYAHARA internalizing sensory perception
According to Ayurveda, physical disease arises from taking in unwholesome food, Pratyahara gives us control of the senses so that we do not crave wrong food. Impressions affect our emotions, Pratyahara moderates intake of sensory impressions. Mantra works with Pratyahara to still the mind.
6. DHARANA concentration
Control of the mind so that we give all our mental energy at will to whatever we need to examine. Dharana involves developing and extending our power of attention through concentration on certain objects or ideas. Increasing powers of attention is important to all healing. ADD and depression are usually a form of diminished power of attention. The power of attention is the main energy gateway to improving the quality of life.
7. DHYANA meditation or absorption
It is our capacity to sustain our attention without distraction. Meditation enables us to mirror reality and objectively perceive the truth of things. During Asana practice the inner stillness grows until you become absorbed in the harmony of the body, mind and prana. Meditation is a high state of awareness.
8. SAMADHI union
Samadhi is the state of unity, it is the capacity to merge with things in consciousness that show our joy and fulfillment in life. It is the natural outcome of true meditation and the goal of all that we seek.
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